New York, April 5: The British pound retreated Friday after London requested another extension in the long-running Brexit saga while global stocks rose modestly on US-China trade talk hopes and solid US jobs data.
British Prime Minister Theresa May asked the European Union to delay Britain's departure until June 30, while the bloc itself suggested that it might be best to postpone the split for up to a year.
As so often before, sheer uncertainty over Britain's future weighed on sterling but the currency's downside was limited by expectations that the exit from the EU will be softened by some kind of agreement with the bloc.
“As far as most currency traders are concerned the chances of a no-deal remain remote — but at the same time a satisfactory outcome anytime soon also seems highly unlikely,” said XTB analyst David Cheetham.
In stock market deals London gained solidly as the pound slid, while Paris and Frankfurt had only small gains to show for the day's trading.
Wall Street stocks climbed after the Labor Department reported that the US added 196,000 net new positions last month, well above expectations, while the jobless rate held steady at 3.8 percent.
Analysts viewed the report as highly favorable to stocks because it lessened fears of a profound economic slowdown. At the same time, wage inflation moderated, reducing the chances the Federal Reserve will shift to a more hawkish posture.
“The jobs report was just perfect for equities,” said LBBW's Karl Haeling.
The S&P 500 closed the week with a gain of 2.1 percent, lifting its total advance in 2019 to 15.4 percent.